People who read others well are trained to read the invisible and fine-tune their senses…including the Sixth Sense, otherwise known as body language.
They pick up on verbal contradictions and signs of anger or unease, signals others typically miss.
Research has shown that words account for only seven percent of how we communicate, whereas our body language (55 percent) and voice tone (30 percent) represent the rest.
FBI profilers also say that micro-expressions, tone, and gaze can expose deception.
Here, the surrender to focus on is letting go of trying too hard to read body language cues. Don’t get overly intense or analytical. Stay relaxed and fluid. Be comfortable, sit back, and simply observe.
You’re training yourself to develop a more detailed eye for the world. Note what you pick up without straining. If you’re not getting cues or are unsure about the ones you observe don’t force things to fit. Wait until the signs are clearer. Too much effort blocks the process because you’re trying to push something that can’t be pushed.
Check out these body language signs that will tell you everything you need to know.
Important Body Cues That Will Speak Volumes
1. Pay attention to appearance
When reading others, notice: are they wearing a power suit and well-shined shoes, indicating ambition? Jeans and a t-shirt, indicating comfort with being casual? A tight top with cleavage, a seductive choice?
A pendant such as a cross or Buddha, indicating spiritual values? Physical appearance can speak volumes.
2. Notice posture
Do they hold their head high, confident? Or do they walk indecisively or cower, a sign of low self-esteem? Do they swagger with a puffed out chest—a sign of a big ego? How someone holds their body can indicate how they feel about their body.
3. Watch for physical movements
There are several physical body language signs that are significant pointers. Watch out for these:
- Leaning and distance
Observe where people lean. Generally, we lean toward those we like, and away from those we don’t.
- Crossed arms and legs
This pose suggests defensiveness, anger, or self-protection. When people cross their legs, they tend to point the toes of the top leg towards the person they are most at ease with.
- Hiding one’s hands
When people place their hands in their lap, pockets, or behind their back, it suggests that they are hiding something.
- Lip biting or cuticle picking
When people bite or lick their lips or pick their cuticles, they are trying to soothe themselves under pressure, or in an awkward situation.
4. Interpret facial expression
Emotions can become etched on our faces. Deep frown lines suggests worry or over-thinking. Crow’s feet are the smile lines of joy. Pursed lips signal anger, contempt, or bitterness. A clenched jaw and teeth grinding are signs of tension.
Related: 10 Ways You Can Reduce Stress
5. Track eye contact
The eyes are the windows into the soul. When you’re observing people, ask yourself: do they make confident eye contact? Or do their eyes drift, suggesting distraction, disinterest, or avoidance? Do they lock eyes, without wavering, signaling dominance?
Are their eyes intrusively probing, indicating poor boundaries or need to control? Or do they keep a respectful distance, yet still connect well with you?
Another thing to watch out for is blinking. Blinking patterns can reveal how calm or uptight one is. Under stress, our eyelids twitch and we blink more often.
6. Be aware of scent
We have a thousand different kinds of smell receptors and can detect over ten thousand odors. Our scent can reveal personal habits.
Notice: Do you smell cigarettes, cigars, or alcohol? Can you detect body odor or bad breath, suggesting poor self-care or a medical disorder?
Or, on the other end of the spectrum: is their perfume or cologne overwhelming? This can communicate “notice me,” a desire to be attractive (even dominate), or an insensitivity to how others are affected.
7. Notice breathing patterns
How fast or slow we breathe can be informative. People who are rushing around or stuck in their heads thinking or worrying forget to breathe deeply. They tend to hold their breath; you can barely see their chest moving. This suggests tightness, tension, or the need to over-control.
Hyperventilating or rapid breathing is associated with anxiety, anger, extreme emotion, or illness.
Verbal communication is important, but body language can tell you even more about a person. Keep these body language signs in mind so you can always be in the know.
Judith Orloff MD is a psychiatrist, intuitive healer, and NY Times bestselling author. Her latest book is The Ecstasy of Surrender: 12 Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your Life. Dr. Orloff synthesizes the pearls of traditional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition, energy, and spirituality. She passionately believes that the future of medicine involves integrating all this wisdom to achieve emotional freedom and total wellness.
Photo by Fee Feuer